Harden’s triple-double leads Rockets over Raptors 112-109

Leave a comment

HOUSTON (AP) James Harden had his third triple-double this season with 32 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds to help the Houston Rockets snap a three-game skid with a 112-109 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

Houston squandered a double-digit lead early but opened the fourth quarter with a big run to take control.

Patrick Patterson scored five quick points to get Toronto within 110-107 with 10.1 seconds remaining, but Trevor Ariza made two free throws after that to secure the win.

It’s Toronto’s second straight loss overall and its ninth loss in a row in Houston, where the Raptors haven’t won since 2007.

In the last few minutes, Toronto stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry both get ejected for arguing with the officials.

DeRozan scored 18 points before being kicked out with about 3 minutes left. He made a layup that cut the lead to 103-97 but was unhappy that a foul wasn’t called on the play and began yelling at the officials. He was quickly given a technical but kept jawing and was given a second one and ejected from the game.

The Rockets scored four of the next six points, with three from Michael Beasley, to make it 107-99. Beasley finished with 21 points.

Data curated by PointAfter

Lowry was ejected with 25.6 seconds left when he got his second technical of the game for arguing with officials.

Lowry missed Wednesday’s game with a sore right elbow. In this one, he had 15 points with three 3-pointers to set a franchise record for 3s in a season with 192. Lowry now has the top two 3-point performances in franchise history after making 190 in 2013-14.

Houston started the fourth quarter on a 13-2 run to extend a one-point lead to 92-80 with about 9 minutes remaining. Harden and Jason Terry made 3-pointers in that stretch, but it was Corey Brewer who wowed the crowd when he made a layup as he was being pulled down from behind by James Johnson and then finished the three-point play.

The Raptors got back on track after that, using a 7-1 spurt to cut the lead to 93-87.

Toronto cut the lead to four before Houston scored the next five points, with a 3-pointer by Ariza, to make it 100-91 with about 5 minutes left.

Houston capped the third quarter with a 7-1 run, with the last four points from Harden, to take a 79-78 lead into the fourth.

The Raptors were down by 11 in the second quarter before scoring 15 straight points to take a 48-44 lead just over 3 minutes before halftime. Former Rocket Luis Scola led the way in that stretch, scoring eight points, with a pair of 3-pointers.

Houston missed seven shots, including two on blocks by Bismack Biyombo, and committed three turnovers to allow the Raptors to take the lead.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Lowry’s first technical came in the first quarter. … Patterson had 11 points in his return after missing two games with a sore left ankle. … Scola had 16 points. … Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 18 rebounds.

Rockets: It is the ninth triple-double of Harden’s career. … Beasley has scored at least 10 points in nine straight games. … Patrick Beverley tied a season high with five 3-pointers.

UP NEXT

Raptors: Visit New Orleans on Saturday night.

Rockets: Visit Pacers on Sunday night.

Michele Roberts says fans should not have expected “supermax” to keep players around

Getty Images
Leave a comment

When it came into existence in the latest CBA, it was nicknamed the “Kevin Durant rule.”

Officially called the “designated veteran extension, the idea was to give teams leverage to keep their best home-grown players. To qualify, a player had to be in his 8th-10th NBA season (the end of the first extension of his rookie contract), still with the team that drafted him (or he was traded during his rookie contract), plus the player needs to have made been named MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, or have made the All-NBA team in the most recent season or two previous ones. If a player meets the criteria, they could get a “supermax” extension that gave them 35 percent of the salary cap to stay, plus a fifth year, rather than the 30 percent of the cap and four years that other teams can offer.

Except guys are not sticking around for that extra cash.

Anthony Davis is the latest in a line of guys who forced their way out (Paul George) or were traded (DeMarcus Cousins) rather than use that extension.

Players’ union Executive Director Michelle Roberts told Tim Bontemps of ESPN the supermax is working as intended, the problem is people thought it would be a panacea that would keep players in the same city for most of their careers.

“I mean, the players that are eligible, frankly, are players that are going to get paid, and they’re going to have any number of alternatives,” Michele Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, told ESPN. “It hasn’t hurt them. It was something that they were able to secure and they were interested in getting it, and it was going to be a tremendous advantage in terms of just the amount of money.

“But I still don’t see a downside. The only downside is to the extent that people absolutely believed that it was a slam dunk way to keep their guys. And it just isn’t. And if they doubted it, they can now take a look at Anthony [Davis] and see, ‘Oh, wow, there is no way.'”

Expect the process to be tweaked in the next round of negotiations. The league is always looking for a way to give small and medium market teams a leg up in keeping stars.

Of course, put the right team around those stars (ala Milwaukee) and it’s not much of a problem.

NBA cancels 2019 Global Camp, showcase for international prospects

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Right as the NBA Finals are tipping off here in North America, there was going to be a collection of potential NBA players — plus scouts and members of team front offices — gathering in Monaco for a showcase of their own. The NBA 2019 Global Showcase is a chance for draft-eligible international prospects to impress teams and see if they can find their way into the second round, or higher. Think of it as an NBA Combine for international prospects.

Except the event has been canceled. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has been all over the story.

“We have canceled the NBA Global Camp 2019 due to logistical issues and other contributing factors that jeopardized our ability to successfully conduct the camp,” NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe said in a statement to ESPN. “The camp will return in the future.”…

Sources say that confusion over which venues actually were booked by the organizers are among the key reasons for the last-minute cancellation. AS Monaco Basket, a professional team that competes in the French first division, said it was not consulted about the availability of its arena, which was slated to host the Global Camp.

AS Monaco is favorited to still be playing in the French league playoffs at that time, and if so their building would not be available for the camp.

There are 59 international players currently eligible for the draft, many of them would have been working out and showcasing their skills at this event.

For years, Adidas hosted the EuroCamp in Italy at this time, and it served as sort of a combine for these international prospects. However, the event evolved and last year the NBA took it over to make it more like what the American players go through. The NBA hosted the event in Italy last year, but was moving it to Monaco this year.

Next year, the event will back on… somewhere in Europe.

Watch Klay Thompson scoff upon learning he missed All-NBA, super-max eligibility (video)

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
2 Comments

James Harden, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook and Kemba Walker were All-NBA guards this season.

Not included: Klay Thompson.

That’s a costly missed opportunity for Thompson, who also finished behind Bradley Beal in voting. Thompson’s max contract in free agency this summer projects to be worth $190 million over five years. If he made All-NBA, it would have been a projected $221 million over five years.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Thompson:

That’s cool and all, but when you go to five straight Finals – I respect those guys. But, holy, when you go to five straight, it takes more than just a couple All-NBA guys.

But whatever. I’d rather win a championship than be third-team All-NBA. So, it’s all good.

Do I think there’s that many guards better than me in the league? No.

To me, the All-NBA teams should honor the players who had the best regular season that year. It’s not about who the best players are. It’s not about who advanced furthest in prior years. It’s about who performed the best during that regular season. (Obviously, better players are more likely perform better.)

That wasn’t Thompson, and I didn’t think he was particularly close.

Maybe Thompson conserved energy for the playoffs. That would have been the right approach. The Warriors are good enough to bank on reaching the postseason, and the organization should emphasize this time of year.

But a side effect is being less deserving of regular-season awards.

That’s why super-max contracts probably shouldn’t be tied to All-NBA. A player’s value to his team stems so much from the playoffs, and these awards are voted upon immediately after the regular season.

For the most part, it will work out fine. But Thompson is the exact type of player to get slighted. I wouldn’t blame him for resenting the system.

He’s focused on a different question – who are the best guards, especially in the playoffs? – than most All-NBA voters were answering. Incidentally, Thompson’s question is much more similar to one teams ask themselves when determining players’ salaries. Unfortunately for Thompson, the All-NBA voters’ considerations will matter much more in how much he gets paid.

Warriors: Kevin Durant likely to miss start of NBA Finals

Getty Images
6 Comments

The Warriors have a historically long nine-day layoff before the NBA Finals.

It probably won’t be long enough for Kevin Durant.

Warriors release:

Warriors forward Kevin Durant (strained right calf) and center DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quadriceps muscle) were evaluated by the team’s medical staff earlier today.

Durant, who has not yet been cleared to begin on-court activities, continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation. At this point, it is unlikely that he will play at the beginning of the 2019 NBA Finals, but it’s hopeful that he could return at some point during the series.

Cousins also continues to make good progress with his rehabilitation and practiced with the team today for the first time since suffering the injury on April 16. It’s anticipated that he will play at some point during the 2019 NBA Finals, but the exact date is to be determined and depends on his progress.

The status for both players will be updated next Wednesday.

The Warriors are better with Durant. They’re also really darned good without him.

Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala still make Golden State extremely talented. Those players fit well together.

The competition will get harder against the Bucks or Raptors, but the Warriors can still prevail without Durant.

Of course, as soon as he’s healthy, Golden State will welcome him back with open arms. Whatever complications he brings, his ability justifies dealing with them

DeMarcus Cousins is trickier. He’s been out longer and not the same level of player. He could help in small doses, but it’s harder to find a place for him in the rotation, even if he’s healthy enough to play.